Aaron Read and Randy Perry Legislative Advocates Aaron Read & Associates, LLC AB 392 by Assembly Member Weber (D-San Diego), the use-of-force bill we have been working against (but, as amended, we are neutral), passed the Senate floor on July 10. It was approved by both houses and is now enrolled and sent to the […]
Amid Fourth of July fireworks and explosive political battles, with all eyes focused on clashes between congressional insurgents, congressional leadership and the disrupter in the White House, Congress quietly took time to address mental health services for law enforcement officers. Most legislative action was packed into the week of July 8, although an important amendment offered by Representative Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) was included in the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) funding bill that passed on June 25. On July 11, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the Turn the Tide Act, a wide-ranging opioid bill that also included funds for the psychological well-being of officers on the front lines of the opioid crisis.
Every year, PORAC provides scholarships for members’ children and in-the-line-of-duty dependents who will be entering college or are already attending. In May, the Scholarship Committee completed the difficult task of choosing 25 recipients out of the many talented and deserving students who applied. The following young scholars were each awarded $2,000 toward their college education. Congratulations and best of luck to all of this year’s recipients!
Since Assembly Bill 931 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D–San Diego) was first amended to create a new “necessary” standard for the use of deadly force in April 2018, PORAC and the law enforcement community have come together to proactively address the issue in California. The effort this legislative session has included actively opposing AB 392 (Weber’s resurrected AB 931) and drafting and sponsoring SB 230 by Senator Ana Caballero (D–Salinas). This has been a highly complex and dynamic process that has involved numerous meetings with the governor’s office, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Senator Caballero and many other legislators, as well as meetings with the author and sponsors of AB 392, Weber and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In addition, PORAC has enlisted the guidance of use-of-force experts, lawyers and stakeholders from around the state to develop SB 230, our comprehensive legislation that would minimize use of deadly force in California.
As lawmakers prepare to return to their districts for the August recess and, in many states, local election season slated to begin soon afterward, June and July are critical months for the development of federal policy. With deadlines looming, both real and perceived, Congress must fund the federal government for fiscal year (FY) 2020, while also raising the limit on the amount of debt the federal government may incur, and considering pressing policy issues. As a result of this urgency, several PORAC-supported bills important to law enforcement are moving quickly through Congress, while federal funding that plays an indispensable role in keeping communities across the country safe is up for renewal.
Political advocacy ranks high on the current agenda of the Los Angeles South Chapter, whose leadership prides itself on keeping members apprised of issues and news related to law enforcement and labor, candidate endorsements and more. Most notably, the chapter has been galvanizing support for SB 230, the law enforcement–backed legislation that has been amended recently to focus solely on use-of-force training and policy guidelines.
On May 16, both the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees held their suspense hearings where all bills with an annual fiscal impact of $150,000 or more were voted on to determine their fate moving forward. Suspense bills are considered after the governor’s state budget revision has been submitted following the April 15 tax filings so that the committees have a better sense of available revenue. The goal of the committees is to provide sound, responsible and affordable fiscal policy, but there are often more political issues at play when the members cast their votes.
May yielded several wins for public safety officers, with Congress pushing law enforcement priorities. The nation’s lawmakers considered several bills relating to law enforcement. While not every law enforcement–focused bill had been passed or signed into law at the time this issue went to print, all of these bills inched closer to becoming law. In addition, during National Police Week (May 12–18), members of PORAC visited the Hill and met with members of the California delegation to discuss PORAC’s priorities for this Congress.
Author’s note: When I wrote this article eight years ago, LEOs around the country identified with it — some said it was the best portrayal of our reality they’d ever read. Well, things have gotten a lot harder since then, and I think the Cop Matrix is more dangerous than ever. Together, we can do something about this reality that affects us and our families. This is actually why I started my LEO nonprofit, 360ARMOR. Please have a read and consider how much of the Cop Matrix you reflect.
Defeating AB 392 and ensuring the success of SB 230 continues to be our top priorities this year. AB 392 (Weber) was heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 9. The bill was debated for more than three hours. Ultimately, and as expected, the bill passed out of committee on a party line vote of 6–2. It now goes to the Assembly Rules Committee. At the time of this writing, SB 230 was not yet heard in Senate Public Safety but, as always, we will keep you apprised as developments occur.